My daily routine in London is everchanging, as I try to experience a new corner of this city each day. The area is so vast, I feel as though I could live here for months and still have more left to explore. Through the experiential learning opportunities in our class excursions and going on adventures through London after school, I’ve discovered many aspects of the local culture and way of life.
My day begins with my 9:30 A.M. – 1 P.M. course in Psychology and Art. This may seem like a long time to sit in a lecture, but we spend most of our class time going on excursions to museums around London. This week, we went to the Tate modern museum to apply our lecture material to tangible examples of artwork. We took note of the art pieces we enjoyed and related them to our personality traits, which allows us to examine how our lessons are presented in our own daily experiences. This dynamic pedagogy allows us to think analytically about the world around us and truly immerse ourselves in our coursework.
After class, I trek to the tube to meet up with my friends at the FSU study center. I enjoy walking back to the tube alone, as these moments of silence allow me to reflect on my surroundings. Often, I will take note of the commuters around me and quaint shops nearby. The route to the tube gives me a chance to explore London and examine the local lifestyle. Occasionally, I will enter a shop that piques my interest and talk to local small-business owners about their experience in the city.
Once I return to the study center, my friends and I will gather our laptops and notebooks and take the tube to a local greenspace. Our favorite spot has been Hyde Park, mostly because the locals are very friendly and enjoy sparking conversation. Whether we are near the famous Arc statue or the swan pond, we are bound to encounter new people wherever we choose to lounge in the park.
The London IP program has scheduled cultural experiences for us, which we always take advantage of. On days where we do not have an excursion planned, my friends and I will take the tube to a borough in London and explore on our own. Today, we went to Leadenhall market, which is adjacent to the London bridge. London features many different kinds of marketplaces with vendors that cater to vintage, cultural, and international commodities. Leadenhall has beautiful historic features, and its architectural design was the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. In celebration of the Queens Platinum Jubilee, the market was donned with flowers and Union Jack flags. Brixton Market was nearby, so we decided to walk over and explore the local area. It was there that we discovered London’s largest vintage market; a basement that seemed to have endless vintage pieces dating throughout the late 1900’s. Fashion is an integral component of the culture and artwork in London, and our excursions to the local marketplaces have shown us how diverse the aesthetic styles in London truly are.
After a long, eventful, day of exploring the city, we still find the energy to take advantage of the nightlife in London. By “nightlife”, I am not merely referencing the local clubs and pubs. Rather, the quaint restaurants that are situated around London and the theatres. Theatres are a defining component of the culture in London, and I was lucky enough to meet an aspiring actor during my time here. I met Kojo at a local restaurant, Amici, which had opened only a month prior. He explained to us that he was currently rehearsing for a musical adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast , and that he would be the first black male lead to be in a theatre production for a Disney play. I found it inspiring that young actors in London were able to pursue their artistic prowess with a wealth of opportunities afforded to them. I also appreciated that the theatre industry is adapting to become more inclusive and diverse, similar to television media in the U.S.